The role of news media knowledge for how people use social media for news in five countries

Passengers wearing face masks travel on the Central line tube, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain June 15, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Passengers wearing face masks travel on the London subway. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Published in New Media & Society

This paper explores the role of news media knowledge in the ways people use social media for news in Spain, Sweden, Germany, the UK and the US. 

Abstract: Concern over misinformation on social media has amplified calls to improve the public’s knowledge about how news is produced, distributed and financed. This study investigates the relationship between people’s news media knowledge and the ways in which they use social media for news using online survey data in five countries: the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Spain and Sweden (N = 10,595). We find that people with higher news media knowledge are more likely to include social media in their news repertoire – but not as their main or only source of news. Second, we find that news media knowledge is positively associated with paying attention to source and editorial cues. When it comes to different social endorsement cues, news media knowledge is positively associated with paying attention to the person who shared the news, but negatively associated with paying attention to the number of likes, comments and shares.